Holders of driving licences from the UK, Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina, South Korea, and Malaysia are now eligible to get a Qatari driving licence without any tests, it is learnt.
The new rule exempts qualified applicants from enrolling at driving schools and from taking theory and practical tests, according to sources.
“I have just come from the Traffic Department this morning and had no problem swapping my UK licence for a Qatari one. Saves me doing the road test which was booked for tomorrow,” said a resident who posted his experience on social media recently.
Sources noted that applicants are not required to present their passports except for a Qatari ID and the original copy of the driving licence from any of the five countries.
According to the UK embassy in Doha, it received a confirmation from Qatari authorities on August 29 saying that holders of a valid UK driving licence are permitted to drive in Qatar (using this licence) for 12 months from the day they arrived.
“This applies to both visitors and residents, once a residence permit has been issued,” the embassy stated in a post.
The embassy recommends that those intending to drive using a UK licence should obtain an international driving permit in advance. The embassy advises its citizens to contact or visit the Traffic Department’s headquarters at Madinat Khalifa for further details.
Another resident, also from the UK, shared his experience saying that his wife got her Qatari driving licence in 10 minutes after submitting the required documents.
“You can get your existing UK driving licence changed to Qatari licence without a test. All you need is QID, UK driving licence (original and copies), photograph with glasses and eye test,” he said.
A resident who also had his licence converted recently lauded the speedy processing at the Traffic Department, describing it as a “very efficient and friendly process.”
A number of citizens from other European countries such as Switzerland who hold a full UK driving licence were also able to convert them to a Qatari licence, it is learnt.
“I have a Swiss passport and a UK driving licence and I got mine!” said a resident.
Meanwhile, some 240 categories of workers remain ineligible to get a driving licence in the country. These include photography technician, fishing net maker, accounts technician, pharmacy assistant, newspaper sellers, health and safety technician, coffee boy, decorator assistant, dental technician, and wood cutter, among others.